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samosa

game ideas vs story ideas

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This is just a rant of mine, Im hoping to start some dicussion on the subject. Anyway why do so many people new to the game development scene always try to sell game ideas? If you want to hook people on a game wouldnt it be better to create an elabourate story with many twists, turns, and literary devices? As an example, I think of a game like Max Payne. Yes they had a cool game idea, the whole bullet time thing. But I believe that the best part of the whole game was the story. The way they depict Max as a tortured soul out for revenge for what happpened to his family. It makes him a stronger character and that in turn, I believe, makes the better game. Another game that comes to mind is Mafia. We already had gta3 so the idea of a huge city to explore wasnt its most appealing factor. Neither were the great graphics, it was the fact that you the player were able to play through a great story, sort of like being in the movie "The GodFather". It was great, the missions fit the story perfectly and the characters were believeable. They also had a lot of twists and turns in the story, which I believe is what really made Mafia a great game. Well my rant is over...for now, later. ,Matt -= kill one your a murderer, kill thousands your a conquerer =-

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I think it''s because they want to see the game they have in their minds a reality. But, they don''t know how, and probably don''t want to learn how, so even if they sell the idea the gain money from that.

It''s that they want to see their idea turned into a game.

---------------------->
Nothing in the world is the way it should be; that''s why we, the champions, exist and live for: HOPE.

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Where do I post my story idea?

...

Seriously, this site caters much more to game programmers than it does to story line people. Sure there is a game writer forum, but that is just one compared to the 13+ that are specific to programming. People who program are more interested in programming a feature they are thinking of.

just my 2 sense

Thermodynamics
Hot, moving stuff.

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I agree... for the most part. The best games, however, occur when you get a great story - like Max Payne - a great (read NEW AND EASY TO USE) game idea - like Max Payne - and great graphics (particularly textures) - like Max Payne.

In case you can''t tell, I liked Max Payne. (Try playing the nightmare / OD sequences with surround sound and a decent video card... at 2:00 in the morning).

My point is, though, that the most successful games will have at least two of these three. Want an example other than Max Payne? OK...

WarCraft III:
Story: LotR-style RPG, sequel to a highly-popular storyline
Game Idea: 3d RTS with RPG-style heroes
Graphics: Being able to run a fully-3d RTS, with such great artwork (particularly textures), with Blizzard''s traditional aim of low system requirements.

Homeworld:
Story: Intriguing space venture, with the future of an entire race in your hands, searching for their lost home planet.
Game Idea: COMPLETELY 3d space strategy.
Graphics: Not very high-poly models, but absolutely beautiful gameplay, to the point of having a mystic aura about it.

It''s the toughest thing in the world when you''re working on a game (unless you''re working on a multi-million dollar budget for an infamous gaming company like Sierra or Blizzard) to get all three of these things accomplished. It''s extremely difficult to coordinate the effort needed to make all three aspects stunning enough to have a blockbuster computer game. That''s what game design - and therefore this forum, to a great extent - is meant to do: making sure you keep all three goals in sight and feasability.

That''s enough from me.

- TythosEternal

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quote:
Original post by samosa
This is just a rant of mine, Im hoping to start some dicussion on the subject. Anyway why do so many people new to the game development scene always try to sell game ideas? If you want to hook people on a game wouldnt it be better to create an elabourate story with many twists, turns, and literary devices?


Yes and no. I think both have to be developed, then refined until they appear as one.

quote:

As an example, I think of a game like Max Payne. Yes they had a cool game idea, the whole bullet time thing. But I believe that the best part of the whole game was the story. The way they depict Max as a tortured soul out for revenge for what happpened to his family. It makes him a stronger character and that in turn, I believe, makes the better game.


Yeah, that was a kewl feature. And the story did a lot to engage you and get you to feel empathy for the character, but like I said, you have to develop both and then seamlessly integrate them, imo, to have a quality dev.

Another game that comes to mind is Mafia. We already had gta3 so the idea of a huge city to explore wasnt its most appealing factor. Neither were the great graphics, it was the fact that you the player were able to play through a great story, sort of like being in the movie "The GodFather". It was great, the missions fit the story perfectly and the characters were believeable. They also had a lot of twists and turns in the story, which I believe is what really made Mafia a great game.

Well my rant is over...for now, later.

,Matt

-= kill one your a murderer, kill thousands your a conquerer =-

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quote:
Original post by Thermodynamics

Seriously, this site caters much more to game programmers than it does to story line people. Sure there is a game writer forum, but that is just one compared to the 13+ that are specific to programming. People who program are more interested in programming a feature they are thinking of.




I agree, this site is more for programmers then anyone else. However, instead of these programmers trying to recruit people to help make the game with amazing graphics, they would probably be more successful with having a good well thought out story. Theres nothing wrong with having cool graphics, it just seams that all the games proposed here have no substance. They are just graphics and novices dont seem to be getting that if you want to make a fun game you will get further with a good story than good graphics(which dont even compare to pro teams).

,Matt

-= kill one your a murderer, kill thousands your a conquerer =-

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quote:
Original post by samosa
This is just a rant of mine, Im hoping to start some dicussion on the subject. Anyway why do so many people new to the game development scene always try to sell game ideas? If you want to hook people on a game wouldnt it be better to create an elabourate story with many twists, turns, and literary devices?

As an example, I think of a game like Max Payne. Yes they had a cool game idea, the whole bullet time thing. But I believe that the best part of the whole game was the story. The way they depict Max as a tortured soul out for revenge for what happpened to his family. It makes him a stronger character and that in turn, I believe, makes the better game.

Another game that comes to mind is Mafia. We already had gta3 so the idea of a huge city to explore wasnt its most appealing factor. Neither were the great graphics, it was the fact that you the player were able to play through a great story, sort of like being in the movie "The GodFather". It was great, the missions fit the story perfectly and the characters were believeable. They also had a lot of twists and turns in the story, which I believe is what really made Mafia a great game.

Well my rant is over...for now, later.

,Matt

-= kill one your a murderer, kill thousands your a conquerer =-



Games sell, storys keep you going. When you look for a game (or at leat when i do) the first thing i will look at is the game itself, the whole story aspect is just somthing i get interested in along the way, most of the time at least. In my opinion the story apect of the game can not exist without the game, but the game can exist without the story. Because of this most storys come after the idea for the game itself, and not the other way around.
Thinking up a story and just a story that is probably a very good idea though, especially for an rpg where the gameplay usually is second in importance. Get the story than build a game around it, because after the story whats left is just battle systems and all that technical stuff.

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A good game design has both game mechanics and story. These days, when the market is very slowly starting to wake up and realize the importance of the story in a game, you really can''t have one without the other.

I too loved Max Payne''s near-perfect mix of storytelling, action, and innovative game mechanics.

****************************************

Brian Lacy
ForeverDream Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@foreverdreamstudios.com

"I create. Therefore I am."

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Despite what I may have said earlier I no longer think that its a bad thing that people arent trying to recruit with story ideas, its the fact that almost all indie games I see have no content. Everyone is hung up on graphics, if indie developers took the time to develop better stories and characters we would probably see a lot more people being able to be successful with only developing indie games.

,Matt

-= kill one your a murderer, kill thousands your a conquerer =-

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Once again people are deluding themselves into thinking that good stories = good games.

Go watch a movie or read a book - or stop calling this form of entertainment you like "games", call it an interactive story instead.

The real quality of a GOOD game is a game independant of story - but the problem is, people don''t actually want games, they want stories.

So you have tripe like "Enter the Matrix" being sold SOLELY on the fact that it''s a licensed property. The game means absolutely nothing.

Or a Max Payne, where you have 2 hours of gameplay BECAUSE THE STORY COULDN''T SUPPORT MORE - or rather, the gameplay was limited to the content, not to the actual game play.

Or, god forbid, a Final Fantasy where you might as well let the "game" play itself. All "discovery" is artificial. All exploration is forced. All plot advancement is predetermined, scheduled, and thrust upon you, like it or not.

It''s coming to the point where "replay value" is an oxymoron. It''s no more "replay value" than it is "repeat value". And my experience is homogonized into the experiences of everyone else who plays the game, because it doesn''t matter "how I play", it just matters "that I''ve played".

But, again, it''s what people want - just like their Hollywood summer blockbusters, their random bits of apropriated culture, and the latest Top 40 hits. Too afraid of a real "game", they have to wrap it in vestements of the familiar (story).

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